The Australian Defence Force has helped to restore some sense of normality to Cabbage Tree Island, cleaning up the primary school and medical centre in the indigenous community.
CAPTION: An Army soldier from 5th Engineer Regiment assists with clean up at Cabbage Tree Island Primary School in northern NSW as part of Operation Flood Assist 2022. Story by Captain Catalina Martinez-Pinto. Photo by Corporal Dustin Anderson.
It started with a community leader pouring his heart out and the next day sappers visited his town to assess damage and help clean up.
Community leader Uncle Chris Binge was called to evacuate his community when floods hit Cabbage Tree Island in early March.
After the water receded, he searched for help to start the town’s recovery.
The following day, sappers from Army’s 5th Engineer Regiment travelled to Cabbage Tree Island and assessed 26 houses for damage.
While there, they also cleaned up the primary school and medical centre.
“We are the Nyangbul clan, a community of 200 Aboriginal descendant people, with more than 120 consecutive years of existence and I was losing hope we were not going to be able to start recovering,” Uncle Chris said.
“I am grateful that the ADF has come, because without them we would not have been able to start our recovery phase.”
Lieutenant Lachlan Jesson led the team of 15 sappers on the house assessment and cleaning task.
“We were taking out furniture that was inside the classrooms with high levels of flood damage and compiling it on the street, ready for council plant equipment to pick up,” he said.
During cleaning of the medical centre, NSW Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue assisted by hosing each room.